Senate passes the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018

The U.S. Senate passed its amendment to H.R. 6, the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018, on Monday in a 99-1 vote to address the United States’ ongoing opioid addiction epidemic. The bipartisan bill package contains proposals from 72 senators and work from five Senate committees: banking, commerce, finance, health, and judiciary. Read More →

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Brea Neri
IHI: Why Teaching QI to Trainees Can Help Your Health System

For Kristin Cox, MD, an internist and a program director at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Massachusetts, the real value comes from the fresh eyes.

“Residents are in a perfect position to evaluate the systems we’re using,” she says. “They see best practices, what works, and what doesn’t work. They see every department on days, nights, and weekends. They see every aspect of the hospital.”

And seeing those things can lead to improvements — improvements in systems within the hospital, improvements within care teams, and, most importantly, improvements for patients. Those improvements are central to a unique QI-themed training program for residents at Newton-Wellesley. Read More →

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Brea Neri
Health Leaders: How a Healthcare Collaborative Slashed AMI Hospitalizations by 22%

A healthcare collaborative in San Diego achieved a 22% reduction in heart attack hospitalization rates compared to an 8% reduction in the rest of California, research published this week says.

The collaborative—Be There San Diego—launched in 2011. The 22% reduction in heart attack hospitalization rates was attained from 2011 to 2014, avoiding about 3,800 hospitalizations and attaining an estimated $86 million in savings. Read More →

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Brea Neri
Health Leaders: 17 Health Systems Form Medicaid Transformation Project

Seventeen health systems in 21 states are collaborating to identify, develop, and scale financially sustainable digital solutions to improve healthcare for the 75 million Americans on Medicaid.

The Medicaid Transformation Project will focus on critical challenges facing vulnerable populations across the country, including behavioral health, women and infant care, substance use disorder, and avoidable emergency department visits. Read More →

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Brea Neri
Health Leaders: Build Brand Loyalty By Focusing on Patient Experience

Google study released this month finds that customer experience is the primary reason consumers choose to travel with a particular brand. Easy-to-use websites and online reviews are second and third.

What does this have to do with healthcare? Quite a bit, according to experts in customer experience, a field that is becoming increasingly important to health systems. Thanks to new ways to gather and organize data, health systems now have actionable information to improve patient experience, often in real time. These processes are enhanced by technology that uses natural language processing to detect patterns in that data. Read More →

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Brea Neri
PSYCH NEWS: Collaborative Care as a Way to Stave Off Burnout

Addressing the problem of professional burnout has become a pressing topic in psychiatry as we all try to achieve a work-life balance that is satisfying, enriching, and sustainable. This month’s author, John Kern, M.D., found that working as the consulting psychiatrist for a collaborative care program helped stave off burnout and allowed him to reach his clinical and personal goals. Read More →

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Brea Neri
NCQA: Federal Government Approves NCQA as an ONC-Authorized Testing Lab

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) is proud to announce NCQA’s eMeasure testing laboratory is now approved by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).  As an ONC-Authorized Testing Lab (ONC-ATL), NCQA can perform health IT tests as part of the ONC Health IT Certification program.

NCQA is the only approved alternative to this government-based electronic quality measure testing procedure. With this approval, health IT and data vendors can use the NCQA generated test decks for two certifications; ONC HIT Certification for use in reporting electronic clinical quality measures (eCQMs) to CMS for the Quality Payment Program; as well as NCQA eMeasure certification for use in NCQA’s recognition for Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) and as a standard supplemental dataset in support of HEDIS reporting. Read More →

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Sarah Dohl
HealthPayer Intelligence: NQF Aims to Improve Medicaid Use of Social Determinants Data

Collaborating with public health and community organizations to foster informed decision-making can help Medicaid entities better address the social determinants of health (SDOHs), says new guidance issued by the National Quality Forum (NQF).

An expert panel assembled by NQF found that Medicaid programs are well positioned to positively impact food insecurity and housing-related SDOH among their beneficiary populations, but only if they work closely with other organizations in their communities. Read More →

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Sarah Dohl
Health Affairs: Dually Enrolled Beneficiaries Have Higher Episode Costs On The Medicare Spending Per Beneficiary Measure

Cost measures are a growing part of Medicare’s value-based payment programs. Medicare Spending per Beneficiary (MSPB) is the cost measure included in Medicare’s Hospital Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Program. Beneficiaries who are dually enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid are known to have higher spending on care, but it is unknown whether spending on the MSPB measure varies based on dual enrollment and whether this has implications for the performance of safety-net hospitals. Read More →

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Sarah Dohl
Health Affairs: Unpacking the Trump Administration’s Section 1115 Medicaid Work Demonstration Solicitation

On January 11, 2018 the Trump Administration released a long-anticipated solicitation to states  in the form of a State Medicaid Directors Letter. The letter invites proposals to undertake demonstrations to test the effects of threatening to withdraw or reduce Medicaid – or actually doing so -- from people who fail to meet work requirements. Eleven states currently have applications in the pipeline,  and in recent days two more states appear to have at least preliminarily raised their hands as well. Read More →

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Sarah Dohl
Cleveland Clinic: CDC Report Says Many Parents are Using Unsafe Infant Sleep Practices

Sudden Unexplained Infant Death, or ‘SIDS’ is the leading cause of death of babies under the age of one in the United States. Current recommendations call for infants to be placed to sleep on their back at all times to lessen the risk of SIDS. However, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many babies are still placed in unsafe sleep environments. Read More →

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Sarah Dohl
Health Affairs: Medicare Advantage Enrollees More Likely To Enter Lower-Quality Nursing Homes Compared To Fee-For-Service Enrollees

This article evaluates the differences in the quality of skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) that Medicare Advantage and FFS beneficiaries entered in the period 2012–14. After we controlled for patients’ clinical, demographic, and residential neighborhood effects, we found that FFS Medicare patients have substantially higher probabilities of entering higher-quality SNFs (those rated four or five stars by Nursing Home Compare) and those with lower readmission rates, compared to MA enrollees. The difference between MA and FFS Medicare SNF selections was less for enrollees in higher-quality MA plans than those in lower-quality plans, but Medicare Advantage still guided patients to lower-quality facilities. Read More →

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Sarah Dohl
Health Leaders Media: Generic Drugs Achieve Record FDA Approvals, Aim to Lower Prices

As the FDA continues to approve generic drugs at a record clip, patients see the potential for reducing costs while nonprofits hope for increased availability of generics during a nationwide shortage.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, released the latest data last week on approvals of generic prescription drugs. Through November, the FDA has granted 929 approvals or tentative approvals for generic drugs, at an average rate of 84.5 per month this year. This past month saw 107 generics earn approval, besting the previous all-time high of 101, a record the FDA had just set one month prior. Read More →

 

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Sarah Dohl
Center for Health Care Strategies, Inc.: Strengthening Medicaid Long-Term Services and Supports in an Evolving Policy Environment - A Toolkit for States

This toolkit, developed with support from The SCAN Foundation and the Milbank Memorial Fund, provides a targeted menu of LTSS reform strategies adopted by state innovators that may be replicated by other states. It identifies concrete policy strategies, operational steps, and federal and state authorities that states have used to advance their LTSS reforms. It also highlights opportunities and challenges that states faced in designing and implementing reforms. Read More →

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Sarah Dohl